Religious Freedom and Doctrines of Reluctance in Post-Charter Canada
53 Pages Posted: 24 May 2015
Date Written: 1996
Among the varied documents forming part of the Canadian Constitution is the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, adopted in 1982. The Charter contains contemporary Canada's first written, constitutional guarantees of individual fundamental freedoms. The written form of the document diverges from the past, but will the scope of protection afforded religious freedom under the document differ from that previously afforded? Pre-Charter courts were hesitant to protect religious freedom. They developed four doctrines, or modes of analysis, that evidenced their reluctance to actively safeguard religious freedom. This Comment identifies these four doctrines and assesses the extent to which the Canadian Supreme Court has continued to adhere to these doctrines in the wake of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Comment finds that the Court’s post-Charter jurisprudence reflects a willingness to shed or alter the doctrines of reluctance to provide greater protection for religious freedoms.
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